First-time author Lionel S. Dunn asserts that his memoir, My Dad and These Air Disasters, illustrates numerous conspiracies of the US government, Jews, and the Catholic Church. He says, for example, that these three groups collaborated to create Hitler, Stalin, and Mao Tse Tung. He further opines that “maniacs” are influencing him by means of “voices and visions.” Even as these maniacs control Dunn’s mind and the inner workings of the Catholic Church and the White House, Dunn also opines that his writings have influenced world politics.
Unfortunately, My Dad and These Air Disasters comes across as a rambling, misspelled, poorly-punctuated rant in which Dunn reveals what he believes to be his harassment by the Pope, the Department of Defense, and Jews. To build his case, Dunn chronicles political crises, natural disasters, and air disasters (plane crashes) from the 1970’s to 1999, copying newspaper articles word-for-word at great length.
Dunn describes himself as honest and readers will have no doubt that he believes the events he relates are the result of a sinister plot. Furthermore, his voice needs to be heard or the conspiracy will continue.
An attentive reader may also find the title misleading because Dunn’s dad is barely mentioned, and the term “air disasters” is not fully defined until later in the book. Every word in My Dad and These Air Disasters is capitalized. In his introduction, Dunn begs readers not to be shocked by his anger and violence. However, most readers may find it difficult to remain calm when the book is riddled with dashes to indicate expletives, anti-Semitic slurs, and threats to kill Catholic priests.
Dunn admits to being in and out of psychiatric facilities, and he says he was even imprisoned for menacing an official of the Catholic Church. Yet, after a period of time, Dunn finds himself released from institutions. In his book, he pours his soul on to the written page but the project is so meandering and vulgar that few readers will be able to get through it entirely. For these reasons, this memoir is only recommended in small doses.
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